What Is Human Services?

Human services is a generic term covering many jobs in fields that provide assistance to people in need. Human service positions may be found in both the government and private sectors and are available to individuals with all levels of employment. Read on for more information about a career relating to human services. Schools offering Health & Human Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Overview

Human services encompasses careers supporting people in vulnerable situations like abuse, addiction, mental or physical illness, advancing age, or poverty. Human and social service assistants work in many industries helping social workers, health-care workers, and professionals provide services to people in need. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), common human services jobs include:

  • Human services worker
  • Case management aide
  • Social work assistant
  • Community support worker
  • Mental health aide
  • Community outreach worker
  • Life skills counselor
  • Gerontology aide

Work Environment

A person working in human services performs various roles in the community, working in halfway houses, group homes, and government-supported housing programs. Residential rehabilitation programs and government agencies are the two largest employers in human services, according to the BLS. A social and human service assistant may:

  • Organize and lead group activities
  • Counsel or intervene in a crisis
  • Work in food banks and emergency fuel programs
  • Supervise and assist the elderly and special-needs adults with daily life skills, such as hygiene, proper medication administration, and food preparation
  • Work with psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other professionals to help clients communicate and interact more effectively
  • Support a client's participation in a treatment plan such as occupational therapy or individual or group counseling.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, the employment of social and human service assistants is expected to rise by approximately 22% between 2012 and 2022. New jobs are expected to rise to about 81,200 over the projected time frame. The BLS published in May 2012 the median annual salary earned by social and human service assistants as $28,850.

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